East Meets South: A Renovated Historic Charleston Home

A couple fuses Asian style and Southern tradition to create a cozy getaway in the heart of downtown Charleston.

| May/June 2007

  • The guest bedroom is bedecked with textiles from Eve’s company, Lulan, including a soft-blue silk duvet cover; a tasseled throw in taupe-toned silk; and throw pillows in several shades and patterns. To create a serene retreat, Eve decorated with a cool palette of green and lavender and incorporated the clean lines of Asian furniture, including a mahogany bed with rattan panels and Ming-style bedside tables.
    Susan Sully
  • Bordering a centuries-old cemetery, private courtyard and cobblestone pedestrian alley, the Blossoms’ historic home, formerly slave quarters, is a secluded sanctuary.
    Susan Sully
  • Eve often sets the 18th-century dining table with celadon Depression glass. The scroll-back chairs are upholstered in Lulan’s “Horizon Line” silk. Contemporary Vietnamese paintings and a Czech art nouveau pendant lamp create bold silhouettes against the plaster walls. To filter the light, Eve chose Lulan’s sheer organza window panels with a pattern of raised diamond brocade.
    Susan Sully
  • In the living room, imported crafts create an exotic backdrop for the English Art Deco club chairs with original cherry-red leather upholstery and a round Indonesian ottoman covered by Lulan textiles. The carpet, a hand-knotted silk runner with an abstract geometric pattern (Lulan’s “Constellations” design), brings the room into the 21st century.
    Susan Sully
  • In the kitchen, a row of illuminated cubbyholes, painted a deep shade of saffron, displays some of Jon and Eve’s cherished objects from Asia. Amber, hand-blown glass lights add another element of warmth to the space.
    Susan Sully
  • Jon and Eve Blossom’s downtown location puts them within walking distance of restaurants and entertainment and allows them to share a car.
    Susan Sully
  • With the help of two other architects, Eve redesigned the kitchen layout and created space for a new bathroom without adding on to the home.
    Susan Sully
  • An English campaign bed that belonged to a brigadier-general during the War of 1812 takes center stage in the master bedroom. Designed to be set up and taken down easily during camp movements, the bed’s lightweight wood components are marked with Roman numerals. Horizontal stripes of luminous silk in Lulan’s “Stems” pattern covers the canopy. A duvet cover featuring asymmetrical stripes and throw pillows clad in a variety of Lulan patterns adds subtle vibrancy.
    Susan Sully

Like the fine handwoven textiles she markets, entrepreneur Eve Blossom’s life is imbued with many passions, including a strong environmental and social consciousness and a love of world cultures, particularly Southeast Asia’s. Her husband, Jon, a computer-game designer, shares Eve’s passions and enjoys wielding hammers and power tools during home improvement projects.  So the couple was more than up to the task of creating a sustainable home that blends their sophisticated, worldly tastes with the rich, traditional architecture of their historic Charleston, South Carolina, home.

Eve and Jon met in San Francisco and moved to Charleston six years ago. “We were looking for a city that was smaller than San Francisco, an easier place to live with high per capita culture,” Jon says of the couple’s decision to relocate. With a walkable downtown and the Spoleto Festival USA, an annual celebration of international performing arts, Charleston qualified on both counts. “We wanted attractive architecture, historic homes and no snow,” Eve says.

The Blossoms rented a house for the month of July to test the waters and see if they could bear the summer heat. By August they had bought a diminutive, 1,600-square-foot, 18th-century slave quarters looking out on a centuries-old cemetery. “At first, I was afraid Eve wouldn’t like the
cemetery,” Jon says, “but now we both see it as one of the best things about the house. It’s like having our own private park.”

Sheltered by the cemetery on one side, a private courtyard on another and a cobblestoned pedestrian alley on a third, the house feels secluded even though it’s in the bustling heart of Charleston’s historic downtown. “We’re two blocks from the water, near all these restaurants—and we can share a car,” Jon says. “Even so,” Eve says, “the house is a cottage-y, tucked-away kind of place. It’s a calm respite from the world.”

As the owner of Lulan Artisans—which sells high-end, handwoven silks, natural fabrics and decorative accents—Eve flies regularly to Southeast Asia to consult with weavers and artisans. Jon also travels frequently and works long hours. “As soon as you turn down the alley, it’s cool and quiet,” he says. “You’re in this oasis—no cars, no noises, trees everywhere and houses that haven’t changed for more than a century. There’s nothing to tell you it’s not 1800.”

Materials with integrity



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